Asturias, Euskal Herria & France Cruise - May 20th - June 2nd 2014

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Portugal, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Euskal Herria & France Cruise by Fred Olsen

Off for a cruise on this lovely Fred Olsen ship.

The MV Braemar, photoed at Avilés & berthed in front of the Cultural Centre designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

This cruise started from Harwich, Essex.There are hourly trains from Liverpool Street to Norwich which stop at Mannigtree, where one has to change, which is a Pain, as one needs to be at the far end of the platform & there are steps down, a subway under the tracks & steps up: no lift & little time for this move. However, the train to Harwich ends up on the quay, very convenient.

We called at:-

A Coruña
  (Bordeaux art &
    Roman Ruins)
  (Tour to St. Emilion)

& back to Harwich

We were actually already on the
ship, Ken having been working
on it as a Classical Music Lecturer
on the previous cruise to
Norway, for their
Constitution Day
on this link.

Harwich, on a day that started better than when we left

Piped Aboard

Tuesday 20th May - Staying aboard

Awakened by the noise of the winches at about 0615. Consequently, breakfast at about 0715. By 0830, we had done such packing as was necessary, I had been to our new cabin, 3072, trashed it by putting the beds together to make a double, moved our stuff down, apart from the hanging things & told Carmen, who will arrange for the hanging stuff to be moved. She said it was too early, so we unpacked & met the Cabin Steward. In the middle (no porthole), 3072 is bigger that 4006 for practical purposes. I took my laptop up to the Braemar Room. I almost finished the web site, only needing the name of the farmer’s wife (from their web site when we get home) to finish it.

Suddenly, it was quiet & the ship became, briefly, our own private yacht. This is what happens when you stay on the ship. We found the new show team on Deck 8. Nicky was there but not with the group we spoke to. We went to the Palms for tea, where I finished the web site while Avis went to the gym. Then, the ship was invaded by Freds staff from Ipswich & travel agents on an ‘educational’, who also clogged up the Thistle Restaurant for lunch. We hung around in the Palms & outside, going in when guests appeared. Win, an old friend, plonked herself down on our table & said she had picked up a new squeeze, Malcolm, on her last cruise. Good. She is not exactly good looking but sexy. We crashed out but were interrupted after 40 minutes by the Driver announcing lifeboat drill. After that, I took photos as we left the quay, then joined Avis in bed until 1850. We went to In-Tune’s concert & then dinner. Our table of 8 only had two old ladies, a quiet Caroline & a noisy Jacqueline, both Swiss resident widows but worth talking to. Cultured. We found, outside the Coral Club, Nick White of all people (Ken's boss in 1977) & exchanged some news. I told him what I did on the ships. The show was the same as last week.

Wednesday 21st May - At sea

Up at 0730. There was nothing in particular to do before the afternoon concert. Avis went to the gym & the Beauty Centre (why, when she looks the way she does?), while I variously walked round the deck, sometimes with her or made up a slide show of the last cruise. Neil Roxburgh gave a competent & well-planned concert at 1445. After tea, I had another chat to Nick & then we crashed out, as it was a formal evening. After the Captain’s welcome party, we found two more people at dinner. We went to the Coral Club & I helped the band to sort out the balance problems they were clearly having. Their 2nd & 3rd sets were better stuff: more proper Rock ’n Roll, than their laid-back 1st set. Heads down just after midnight.

Thursday 22nd May - Still at sea

Election Day! Up at 0735. Another day at sea. Peter Smith, who gave good port talks yesterday for La Coruña & Aviles, did Santander & Bilbo. His slide said Bilbao, Spain, although I had pre-warned him about its actual location. The ship’s newspaper, a transmitted Daily Mail, has UKIP ahead in the Euro Election but this could just be Dacre’s wishful thinking. Walks round the deck, then the Oceans Club (or as Nick has it, Frequent Floater) Party. Lunch & a few more turns round the deck. Avis went to dance class & the gym. These are the sort of things one does on sea days.

Port 1 - Leixoes

Port 2 - A Coruña

Port 3 - Avilés

Port 4 - Santander

Port 5 - Getxo

Port 6 - Bordeaux

Next Page - Leixoes

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Contact: Ken Baldry at 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him
URL: Last revised 3/6/2014 ©2014 Ken Baldry. All rights reserved.